It’s not easy to find ways to channel kids’ energy into high adventure activities, complete with safety-minded men and women at the ready to guide and help these exuberant teenagers lead. Thankfully, Venturing is an option for many looking for new adventures.
Whether young guys and gals, aged 14-21 (or 13 and have finished the 8th grade) are looking for rank advancement or for opportunities to role play World War I, climb mountains, go spelunking, co-pilot airplanes, learn to sail, shoot, hike, white water raft, camp, rock climb, or go on a ham radio fox hunt, there is something for everyone. And what’s more, the kids call the shots.
Promoting leadership from a young age, Venturing Crews are led by teens, with adults playing support and safety roles. Girls and boys choose annually what the focus of their crew is going to be (they can choose from exciting options including, but not limited to: white water rafting, trekking, rock climbing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or sailing). Because Crews meet on average twice per month, time isn’t as much of an issue, either.
Setting a good example. Even with the many various opportunities for adventure, the organization still bases its values on leadership and doing good deeds, including Leave No Trace (protecting the environment by remembering that while you are there, you are a visitor. Leave a place just as you found it and travel lightly on the land).
Volunteering. The group is also a service organization ready to lend a hand, whether it is planting trees in a forest hit by fire, cleaning up a park, or teaching first aid to young Boy Scouts, teaching young adults to be better, giving citizens is one of the ways to ensure the nation’s prosperity.
Safety first. Venturers also practice what is known as the Sweet Sixteen of Safety Basics: qualified supervision, physical fitness, the buddy system, safe area/course, equipment selection and maintenance, personal safety equipment, safety procedures and policies, skill level limits, weather check, planning, communications, plans and notices, first-aid resources, applicable laws, CPR resource, and discipline (meaning adult supervisors have to be able to control a situation, and youth must respect the leaders as well).
Risk management for high adventure crews also means facing some of the less usual concerns with care and safety in mind. Take avoiding shark attacks or jellyfish stings, as an example, the natural creatures one deals with in boating in some areas. When hiking one might need to know how to handle avalanches, potential snake bites, or even bears (including how to identify brown versus black and how to behave accordingly). Lightning, heatstroke and hydration are always issues in the Colorado Rockies, so it’s important to understand the signs of danger and never to take unnecessary risks.
Fun with a purpose. An ounce of prevention means pounds of fun for teens looking to specialize in specific activities they love, take part in leading a small, enthusiastic team of teenage boys and girls through some pretty cool adventures, and raising responsible, quick-thinking leaders who can handle almost any situation.
My daughter is the President of her Venturing Crew, and I am an adult female adviser helping with activities, ensuring fun and safety, and providing opportunities for meaningful high-adventure outings, training, and rank advancement. Thankfully, we don’t camp that much. I like bathrooms. And bears make me sneeze.
What’s cool? Our crew just returned from Sea Base in Florida, and they did see a shark while ocean kayaking at night.
Truly, though, I love being a part of this group. I love spending time with my daughter doing fun stuff, and I like making a difference, whether it’s locally with a bunch of fun kids and adults, or here, with you at Your Lighter Side, helping you to love your food more.
Regardless how you work to improve your part of the world, each of us together can take small steps to make sweeping, positive changes in our world, both in and out of kayaks and the kitchen. And away from bears. And sharks.
How do you give back to your community? Do you volunteer? Share below in comments!
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Kleenex via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kleenex.